A tough first-round match for Will Keller and Daniel Darter went into a third-set tiebreaker, and the Garden City High School duo had three match points, as well, but ultimately lost before rebounding in the consolation bracket to stay alive in the Class 6A state tournament in Olathe.
Keller and Darter’s hopes to best their eighth-place finish at state tennis a year ago is still in their grasps, but the opening loss was a tough one to take.
"A little bit of nerves, a little bit of dumb moves," head coach Rod Robinson said. "But they're playing for medals (Saturday), which is an accomplishment in itself."
The doubles team, however, is the only ones still playing for the Garden City Buffaloes after the usual tough Friday at state tennis.
Buffs’ singles players Aaron Schafer and Huy Nguyen both went 0-2 Friday, ending their seasons. Schafer lost to Olathe North’s Manas Madhira, 6-0, 6-0, in the first round, and then was knocked out by Mill Valley’s Gage Folz 9-0.
Meanwhile, Nguyen lost his opener, 6-3, 6-0, to Blue Valley North’s Tanner Summers, 6-3, 6-0, before taking on Hutchinson’s Boaz Tolbert in the consolation bracket, losing that match 9-5.
The brother doubles team of Nathan and Tyler Morren lost to Olathe West’s Lucas Dryer and Carter Lichtsinn, 6-2, 6-2, before downing Hutchinson’s Evan Henderson and Harrison Pankratz, 9-4. But the brothers’ run came to an end in a 9-1 loss to Blue Valley West’s Evan Stout and Brandon Sherman.
"The team that knocked them out was the better team, but on top of that, they didn't play as well as they did, at least at our home tournament," Robinson said. "They had a pretty good day, though. They made some pretty good points."
Darter and Keller won their opening set, 6-4, then lost 7-5, and then lost the third-set tiebreaker, 10-8. But then, the Buffs’ senior duo dominated their next match, 9-2, over Dodge City’s Erik Martinez and Chris Velez, and beat Manhattan’s Luke Craft and Kelton Poole, 9-5, to reach Saturday.
Scott City’s William Cupp also survived through Friday to make it to Saturday’s day 2 action in Class 3A at Prairie Village, going 3-1 Friday.
Cupp won his opening match, 6-3, 6-2, over Conway Springs’ Garrett Robinson, before getting swept, 6-0, 6-0, by Sterling’s William Weiner.
In the consolation bracket, Cupp routed Bishop Seabury Academy’s Peter Westbrook, 9-1, and then Conway Springs’ Luke Bellar, 9-1.